Prison records refer to the recording of a criminal’s incarceration history. A person’s prison records will have a list of all the times he or she has been arrested as well as the time spent behind bars. A criminal check can be done by potential employers and landlords to find out whether a potential employee or tenant has a prison record.
People end up in prison because they committed a criminal act. The person could have been arrested for possession of marijuana, or the person could have been arrested for murder. There are extremes like assault, murder and kidnapping that will result in a prison record, but smaller crimes like theft and check fraud can cause a person to end up with a prison record too.
In some cases, a petty crime like shoplifting may result in a fine, restitution or community service unless the person is a habitual offender. If the criminal has committed this crime or other crimes before, the judge could decide to send that person to prison. The judge has discretion in certain cases involving misdemeanors and petty crimes. The judge may decide that the person doesn’t need to go to prison. Community service might be enough of a deterrent.
Prison records can last for years on the person’s record. Those records can be accessed by employers and landlords during routine credit checks. If the crime is petty, there may come a time when the crime can be wiped from the person’s prison record. It depends on the severity of the crime, and how many years have passed. A person with a prison record would need to check with the courthouse in their district to find out whether it would be possible to clear their prison record.
Although a person’s prison record might be cleared in some cases, if the person applies for a law enforcement position, the law enforcement agency can see all criminal and prison records. Officers cannot have any criminal offenses on their record at all. Even sealed or expunged records are visible to law enforcement agencies. Those with prison records are considered to be felons, and they are not eligible for many government or law enforcement jobs.